Arabs Israel 

In a deadlocked election, the real winners are Israeli Arabs

If nothing else, one clear result of Israel’s frustrating general election gives the lie to the claim that Israeli Arabs were being intimidated from casting their vote. This arose from a failed attempt by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party to allow its operatives to film inside polling stations on the unproven charge of voter fraud in the Arab sector. In the middle of election day, a report attributed to Likud that it had installed “facial recognition” cameras outside Arab polling stations was condemned as an attempt to intimidate…

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Israel 

Puncturing the big lie of Palestinian identity

Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, recently claimed that the Palestinians were the descendants of the Canaanites. “This land is for its people, its residents and the Canaanites who were here 5,000 years ago — and we are the Canaanites!” he declared, vowing that every Israeli stone and house “built on our land” would end up “in the garbage dump of history.” Any western Palestinian supporter might have been left somewhat perplexed. After all, it’s an article of faith among those hostile to Israel that the indigenous inhabitants…

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Britain Global conflict Israel 

Is Boris Johnson “good for the Jews”?

Britain now has its first celebrity prime minister. On Tuesday, Boris Johnson was elected leader of the Tory Party following Theresa May’s resignation over her failure to deliver Brexit. On Wednesday, Johnson “kissed hands” with the Queen and thus succeeded Mrs. May as Britain’s PM. As with all social or political developments of note, the Jewish world is predictably asking about this one: “Will it be good for the Jews?” Johnson has entertained and scandalized Britain for years through his many scrapes, his jokes, his politically incorrect gaffes, his chaotic…

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Audio 

Antisemitism in the moral maze

On BBC Radio’s Moral Maze this week, we discussed antisemitism. With the Equality and Human Rights Commission now investigating the Labour party for racism over the hundreds of examples of antisemitism by its members and the party’s apparent refusal to deal with these properly, the programme asked the more fundamental questions. What exactly is antisemitism? Can it be differentiated from anti-Zionism? Is antisemitism just one of many forms of racism or is it a uniquely pernicious prejudice? I discussed this with my fellow-panellists Matthew Taylor, Mona Siddiqui and Tim Stanley.…

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Global conflict 

The dark shadow Iran is casting on the world

In Israel, as the drumbeats of war grow ever louder, people are preparing with a mixture of dread, stoicism and determination for the long-feared, ultimate showdown with Iran. After reported Iranian attacks on two oil tankers last month near the Straits of Hormuz, Iran also shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone. Following this, U.S. President Donald Trump said he had cancelled an airstrike on Iranian targets with only 10 minutes to spare because of last-minute concerns that the likely number of casualties would be disproportionate. Earlier this week, Iran…

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judges Britain Israel 

Whoever becomes Israel’s prime minister, judges should be put back in their box

Israel’s electoral crisis has put politics on hold. One important casualty is the attempt to curb the power of Israel’s Supreme Court and legal establishment. This was the policy single-mindedly pursued by outgoing justice minister Ayelet Shaked, who Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sacked from her post this week after she lost her Knesset seat in last month’s election. The controversy over judicial activism has echoes beyond Israel, particularly in Britain: who in a democracy should have the ultimate whip hand, politicians or the judiciary? Israel has been transfixed by the…

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antisemitism Britain Israel USA 

Doing what comes naturally – the west’s suicidal animus

As around 700 rockets rained down on southern Israel last weekend, leaving four Israelis dead and many more wounded, many in Western media were doing what comes naturally to them – suspending the normal rules of journalism to distort, twist or lie. The usual, fundamental errors littered their reports – such as that Gaza was “occupied,” regardless of the fact that Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. There was the usual reversal of aggressor and victim, with sly implications of moral equivalency between Arab attack and Israeli defense. There…

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Ireland Israel 

Ireland’s obsessional hatred of Israel

There’s a particularly sweet spot in the enormous technology deal Israel has just pulled off. Over the next five years, the tech giant Intel will invest a whopping $11 billion in a new semiconductor fabrication plant in Israel. The investment will be worth around 0.7% of Israel’s gross domestic product and is expected to produce thousands of jobs. The sweet spot is that in securing this deal, Israel beat off competition from Ireland. For Ireland has become the most extreme Israel-bashing country in the West. Its Dáil, or parliament, recently…

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conservatism Culture wars Israel 

Is the State of Israel supping with the devil?

The visit to Israel this week by Italian deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini has provoked criticism and dismay within the Jewish world. Salvini, who heads Italy’s right-wing “populist” Lega party, is controversial because of his anti-immigration stance. Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin declined to meet him, citing “scheduling issues.” Rivlin’s view of political parties such as Lega were made clear, however, when he told CNN that the whole world needed to work against xenophobia, discrimination and antisemitism. “There are neo-fascist movements today that have considerable and very dangerous influence, and sometimes…

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insanity Israel 

The brain-frying insanity of the demonisation of Israel

Brendan O’Neill asks the obvious question. Denouncing the boycott by Airbnb of Israeli properties in the disputed territories, he wonders at the extraordinary double standard under which Airbnb doesn’t similarly boycott properties in Tibet or northern Cyprus or Crimea which are occupied by China, Turkey and Russia. The same question can be asked of the British Quakers who have said they will no longer invest in any companies which profit from “the occupation of Palestine”, a move they offensively and misleadingly compare to their past protests against apartheid and the…

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